So what do lonely teenagers do when they finally meet a
kindred spirit? They form a band! Marco Braam was playing the piano from the
early 80s on, but he really got turned on by music after he heard his father's
Stones and Troggs 45s (Listen to 'Jumpin'Jack Flash'below). Remco Takken was
more on the Beatles' side, thanks to the numerous cassettes he lent from his
teacher Jacques Mulder when he was 11/ 12 years old (Listen to 'And Your Bird
Can Sing'). The two of them realised a seven-piece rock collective that existed
from 1986 to 1990. However this group never performed with all seven playing at
This open line-up worked quite well for a lot of improvisation and surprising bass less, drum less music, more or less.
The sixties-vibe that surrounded Purple Brain wasn't quite fitting in the post-punk era. But when looking back, one can argue that the gross simplification of Lennon & McCartney's 'And Your Bird Can Sing' was done in a rather punky fashion by the 15 and 16 year olds. Sixties nostalgia or not, the group fell apart before retro-rock by the likes of Lenny Kravitz and The Black Crowes was well on its way. In 1990 Purple Brain played sheet music by Frank Zappa and Charles Ives, intertwined by their own, mostly instrumental music. When they disbanded in June 1990, the oldest band member had just turned 19, the youngest was at the tender age of 15.
Where are they now?
In 2004 pianist Marco Braam is musical director of Dutch theatre groups like Purper and Nonsens. Guitarist Remco Takken always played a bit of bass guitar, which he now does in the improvising collective Schors. And he writes free-lance on jazz and improvised music. After 1990 drummer Eric Zuiderbeek went on studying the piano and played scores Pierre Boulez, JS Bach and Charles Ives. Reed player Harald Tepper later on played in the Xenakis Ensemble and is presently a member of the American 'Utah Symphony Chorus'. Star soloist Alman quit music in the nineties. Keyboardist Warner Werkhoven (not related to Alman) currently plays in the Eindhoven based jazz rock group Serendipity Labs. Bass guitarist Yvette Takken went on to play the violoncello, which she occasionally still plays. Henk-Jan Hoekjen (not recorded) only played in this group for about two weeks. At this moment, he is the guitar player of the successful garage rock trio The Stilettos.
-- Remco Takken
October 2004, the above text could be read as part of the "52 weeks" project: "every week in 2004 there is / was a link to a page with recordings which are / were not available in the shop and preferably introduced by the artist him/her/themselve(s)." Week 43 focussed on Purple Brain and included material to download:
|purple brain: softening?
(1989, k7, nl, private release) - incl.'let's make the water turn black', 'absolutely free' (frank zappa)
|purple brain: anthology 1986-90
(2004, download, nl, --) - including a couple of frank zappa compositions